Chana masala

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BM # 71
Week 1, Day 1
Theme : One pot dishes
I am surprised that the oft repeated everyday dishes are hardly featured here in my space. I was sure that I had a recipe for chana and rajma here since its something I make regularly. Apparently not! Its been part of some thali meals in the past, but never been featured as a recipe post here. Since its a regular dish at my place, I will get a chance soon to update this post with better pictures sometime down the line.
I always use pav bhaji masala when making chana masala. Its something I started long back and I don’t remember how I decided pav bhaji is the masala for this curry. Kasuri methi also adds a wonderful flavor to this dish.
Now a days, I make this curry in the Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker). I use soaked chana directly and don’t bother with cooking it ahead or using canned beans to cut short the time.
Read on for the pictorial.

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Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • one teaspoon oil
  • one medium onion, chopped finely
  • two medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (or per taste)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 can garbonzo beans (or soaked and cooked chana)
  • 1 tablespoon Pav bhaji masala
  • 2 teaspoons kasuri methi
  • handful of chopped cilantro
  • salt

Pictorial

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Heat one teaspoon oil and saute one chopped medium onion. When it turns pink, add two chopped medium tomatoes. Saute till tomato is cooked a bit and is a little mushy. Add the masala powders (1/4 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp chili, 1 heaped tsp coriander, 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tablespoon pav bhaji masala). I forgot to add it at this point, so added it later. Add the salt also.

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Mix well. Cover the pot with a lid and let it cook in low heat for 4-5 minutes. If its dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of water to prevent the masalas from sticking to the bottom. Stir in between to ensure nothing burns.

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When the masalas are all cooked and the tomatoes are mashed well, add 1/2 cup water. Take aside 1/4 cup of cooked or canned garbanzo beans and make a paste out of it in a mixer jar. This paste step is optional, but helps in thickening the curry.

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Add the rest of the chana to the curry. Add water to cover the chana. About 2-3 cups. Let it come to a boil. Add the chana paste to the curry and mix it in with a ladle. This will help thicken the curry.

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Pav bhaji masala is coming to my mind only now :D. Better late than never, add a tablespoon of it to the curry.

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Now time for kasuri methi and chopped coriander. Add it and mix. Let it cook in medium heat for about 5-10 minutes, taste testing and adjusting it as necessary. Take off the heat when it reaches the desired consistency. Serve hot with rice or roti.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#71

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Potato cheese balls in Palak gravy

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After a long blogging break, you need to polish up your typing skills and cannot write in long posts. So here with less talk and more pictures. This post is a simple story about what you can do to potatoes. You boil them, peel their skin, mash them up.Don’t stop there – spice them up, roll them over spiky breadcrumbs, drop them into hot oil and finally, serve them on a spinach sauce. That’s about the time you feel happy about my absence from the blogging scenario, rt ;-)?

Anyway, torturing potatoes wasn’t my idea. I was just following what Mrs. Vasantha Moorthy’s asked me to do in her Vegetarian Menu book. The book, which I successfully stole, erm..borrowed from my sister-in-law, is quite useful when you need to put together a meal and you are out of ideas. Some combinations from that book are regular repeats for me, like coconut rice and ginger pachadi.

For the past some months, the camera hasn’t been that friendly with me. None of my half hearted attempts at clicking pictures was giving good results.So it definitely was a pleasant feeling when the potato balls came out looking cute on the camera, despite all that I did to them.

Small steps first, when you are walking after a long time :-).

Enjoy the recipe as it goes to the Cooking from Cookbook Challenge. Please check out this page for more details about the event. 

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Saute one big onion, 2-3 pods garlic, 1″ ginger piece and 2 green chillies in 1 teaspoon of oil. Once the onions are cooked, add two cups of spinach and salt as needed. Cook for a couple of minutes and let it cool. Once its cool, make a puree and bring it to boil adding some water if its too thick. Thats the gravy.

Pressure cook 5 medium potatoes. Peel and mash them well. Finely chop one big onion and 2-3 green chillies.

Add one tablespoon of kasoori methi (or chopped coriander leaves), minced onion-chilli combination and 1/2 cup shredded(or 2-3 torn slices)cheese to the mashed potatoes and mix it in.

Make lemon sized balls out of  the potato mix. I got around 22. Whisk 1/4 cup all purpose flour with some water (about 1/2 cup) to make a not-so-runny batter. Dip the potato balls in this batter and roll them over breadcrumbs. Deep fry in a kadai or appakuzhi.

To serve, add some spinach gravy to a plate or bowl. Top with the fried potato balls. Sprinkle some cheese or dot with fresh cream, if desired. Serve with chapati or basmati rice.

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The recipe goes to the second week of CCChallenge. Please check out this page for more details about the event. 

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Gutti Vankaya Kura (Stuffed eggplants)

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As February was ending, our Blogging Marathon creator (and the main reason why my blog is still alive) Valli’s birthday was coming up and we bloggers decided to throw her an online food party. We all chose recipes from her blog and surprised her with wishes and food from all corners of the world. I went straight to the root and took the first recipe that she published. Gutti Vankaya Kura.

I paired it for a meal with her coconut rice.

Ever since making it for her birthday, its kind of become my regular dish. May be I will take better pictures the next time I make it. Right now I am clearing my drafts and thought its a good time to post this recipe.

This curry is a flavor burst and so I thought it better to pair it with simpler recipes. May be I will pair it with biryani and see how it turns out to be! Read on for the recipe and step wise pictures.

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Recipe source: Cooking for all seasons

Dry roast 1/3 cup peanuts, 3-4 dry red chillies in a pan. When the peanuts are brownish, add 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds, 1″ stick of cinnamon, 3-4 cloves and fry for a minute. Add 1/4 cup dry or fresh coconut and saute until the coconut changes color and releases a sweet aroma. Remove from heat.

When the dry mix is cooled down, blend it along with a small diced onion (or 4 pearl onions), 2 cloves of garlic and 1″ piece of ginger. Grind without adding any water.

Cut a ‘plus’ in the brinjal, cutting it through till the stalk. Keep the stalk intact so that its not cut into four pieces. Carefully fill the brinjal with the prepared peanut mix. I was able to fill 7 small brinjals with this amount.

Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a pan. Add one teaspoon mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add one chopped big onion and saute till pink. Follow it up with a finely chopped large tomato.

Add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, salt as needed and cook until its mushy. Add the stuffed brinjals carefully and let it cook for a couple of minutes.

Slowly turn it over (stalks help ;-)!). If you have any left over ground mix, blend it with some water and add to the curry.

Add enough water to help with the cooking and to have a bit of gravy. Lower the heat and cover and cook for about 25 minutes, carefully turning the brinjals once or twice in between. Turn off the heat with the veggies are completely cooked and oil floats on top. Serve with rice or roti. Pairs well with coconut rice.

Ingredients:

To grind:

  • 1/3 cup peanuts
  • 3-4 dry red chillies
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1″ stick of cinnamon
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1/4 cup dry or fresh coconut
  • 1 small onion (or 4 pearl onions)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1″ ginger piece

For the gravy:

  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 big onion, finely chopped
  • 1 big tomato, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • salt as needed
  • 4-6 brinjals*

*the size of the brinjal vary vastly, so its difficult to give a finite number here..

Method:

Prepare the ground masala first: 

  1. Dry roast 1/3 cup peanuts, 3-4 dry red chillies in a pan. When the peanuts are brownish, add 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds, 1″ stick of cinnamon, 3-4 cloves and fry for a minute. Add 1/4 cup dry or fresh coconut and saute until the coconut changes color and releases a sweet aroma. Remove from heat.
  2. When the dry mix is cooled down, blend it along with a small diced onion (or 4 pearl onions), 2 cloves of garlic and 1″ piece of ginger. Grind without adding any water.

Prepare the curry:

  1. Cut a ‘plus’ in the brinjal, cutting it through till the stalk. Keep the stalk intact so that its not cut into four pieces. Carefully fill the brinjal with the prepared peanut mix. I was able to fill 7 small brinjals with this amount.
  2. Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a pan. Add one teaspoon mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add one chopped big onion and saute till pink. Follow it up with a finely chopped large tomato. Add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, salt as needed and cook until its mushy.
  3. Add the stuffed brinjals carefully and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Slowly turn it over (stalks help ;-)!). If you have any left over ground mix, blend it with some water and add to the curry.
  4. Add enough water to help with the cooking and to have a bit of gravy. Lower the heat and cover and cook for about 25 minutes, carefully turning the brinjals once or twice in between.
  5. Turn off the heat with the veggies are completely cooked. Serve with rice or roti. Pairs well with coconut rice.

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Potato Mushroom Masala

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They say time flies when you do things you love. But what I have found out is time flies even if you do absolutely nothing. You can crib about the weather once in a while to keep yourself engaged. So you see, two weeks have flown by and I am gaping at how time flies!

What did I do in these two weeks? Ehhh…Ermmm…Wellll…Can’t think of a thing! Nada. Nothing. But boy…time did fly fast and I was watching it zoom away from the comfort of my couch :D.

The minute kid gets out of the door in the morning, I curl myself into a ball and position myself in the couch under a warm cozy blanket. I pull it right over my head and spend at least half my day there. One more month of this chilly, windy weather and then we will be back to times where you can just open the door and walk out.

Open the door and just step out – that’s something I have been taken for granted most of my life. Until last winter. Now, it seems like such  a luxury! We have to remember the jacket, cap, gloves and boots before stepping out. Scarves, multiple layers or sweaters and umbrella if its really cold or raining.

Boy! I am never going to take Summer for granted! But like everything in life, you learn to adapt and enjoy, even biting cold weather, if it lasts long enough. I am a lot better than I was last year. And I know coming year is going to be a lot better than now. And so it goes…

Now I know what I was doing the last two weeks. Reflecting on life and such big things…all from under the comfort of that blanket!!

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BM #61; Week 4; Theme: Root vegetables

Recipe source: Mia Kitchen

Serves : 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 inch piece ginger, chopped finely
  • 2-3 green chillies, sliced into two
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder (or per taste)
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 small tomato, chopped roughly
  • 200 gms mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 medium potatoes, diced
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • salt as needed

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a thick pan. Add the sliced onions, ginger and green chillies. Cook till onions turn pink.
  2. Add the spices one after the other – coriander powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder and HALF the garam masala. If the masalas burn, add few drops of water.
  3. Saute for a few moments for the masala to get cooked. Add the diced tomatoes. Mix it in and let it cook for 3-4 minutes until the tomatoes look mashed. Add salt as well.
  4. Add the potatoes, mix it in and cover and cook for 5 minutes. Sprinkle some water if the curry seems dry at this point.
  5. Tip in the mushrooms and the coconut milk. Mix well and cover and cook until the potatoes are done. Keep stirring in between.
  6. Taste test and add remaining garam masala if needed. You can add some water if the gravy turns out too thick. Serve with rotis or jeera rice.

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Mushroom pepper fry

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Halloween is over now, Thanksgiving is almost here and Christmas is right around the corner. The nature has started throwing a range of colors on the trees. Shades of green, yellow, orange and red are all over the place. And before you have time to take in everything, leaves have started falling to the ground making the trees bare.

The competent trees in the neighborhood have already shed its leaves. Slowly, a whole bunch of them follow the leader. And within a very short time span, there is a whole lane of trees that are just sticks and branches now.

I am thankful for the ones that are still holding onto their leaves with their lives, making this beautiful display of red and orange and yellow. It makes you feel a little warm amidst the setting cold weather.

All I want to do is have a hot cup of tea, pair it with something spicy, throw a blanket on myself and read. This dish may not be perfect with a cup of tea, but it is great with hot rice or vegetable rice. Food…well, that’s how you get ready for winter at my place ;-).

Read on for the recipe.

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BM Theme: Dry side dishes

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms
  • one onion, chopped fine
  • one small capsicum, diced small
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder ( or per taste)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 red chilli
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • salt

Method:

  1. Heat oil. Add the red chilli, curry leaves and the mustard seeds. Wait for the seeds to crackle.
  2. Add the chopped onion and saute till its pink. Tip in the diced capsicum and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala and ground pepper along with salt as needed.Mix well.
  4. Now add mushrooms and mix gently. Let it cook until soft. Taste test, adjust seasoning according to your taste.
  5.  Take off the heat when the moisture from the mushrooms is all dried up. Serve with roti, fried rice or plain rice.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 58